“Romancing the Land” – Thai Ker Liu
At an event I organized last night, “Tomorrow’s City Today”, esteemed Singaporean architect and master planner, Thai Ker Liu, presented his personal vision of why good planning matters for the cities we live in. His concept of “romancing the land” means not just blindly planning in spite of (instead of with) cultural geographies, historical landscapes, and existing landforms. It also means designing cities that don’t just function well, but are agreeable places to live.
Do we want sidewalks that are 10 foots spans of gray concrete punctuated by flat-fronted eyesore garage doors with cars parked across the right-of-way like San Francisco seems to specialize in? Or would we rather live in a city with pleasant, sometimes tree-shaded pedestrian only sidewalks with occasional gardens, benches, plantings, and other visual delights? Planning only for the practical doesn’t address the non-quantifiable cultural, social, mental, health, and aesthetic benefits of planning for beautiful, livable, and pleasant places.
Check out more about last night’s event soon at AsiaSociety.org/PCSI, where you can also download a new publication I co-produced, with contributions from an expert group of urban sustainability experts from around the Pacific Rim.
What do you want your city to look like tomorrow?
Above, a San Francisco grayscape, November 2012